This book was one of my most anticipated books last year and it did not disappoint. Although the premise seemed extremely heart-breaking this was a book was heart-warming and this book did everything it promised to do and more. It made my heart ache for all the characters involved within the story, and it made me want to live my life to the fullest.
Julie and Sam have their lives planned out; move away from their town, spend the summer in Japan and then aspire to follow their careers as a writer and musician. Then Sam unexpectedly dies. When she skips the funeral, throws his things out and tries to erase him from her life. When she decides to ring his phone desperate to hear his voice, she does not expect him to pick the phone up.
This novel is not very plot driven however, the characters and the writing make the main part of the book. The writing is beautiful and lyrical and really reflects the feeling of grief throughout. Julie’s self-narrative of tackling her way through her grief throughout and her character came across so believable. Although in some situations she came across as unlikeable, I think that was a accurate portrayal of how people struggle through their grief and how everyone deals with their problems in their own way. Seeing her develop and transform throughout the book and to watch her heal was both beautiful and heart-breaking.
However, another character that’s grief truly was heart-breaking was Mika. Mika makes the reader emphasize with her pain and you just want to hug her because its so painful losing someone that close to you. I feel like Julie felt like the pain was her own, but Sam’s family is also struggling, and it was so important that the book showed the way one person can impact so many people’s lives.
The dual narrative added to the heart-breaking aspect of the story because you got to see how Sam and Julie was and their interactions before Sam’s death. Their relationship was filled out fully within the book because you got to see them at the prime of their relationship and how it developed to that point rather than the reader having to imagine what their relationship was.
This book showed a huge development of the characters, and it was beautiful to see other relationships develop throughout not just the two main character. You hear all the characters and that is beautiful in itself. Even though you do not get to see as much as I wanted, I feel as though Sam’s character was my favourite and I felt connected to him through the beautiful writing of his character.
This book ended up being a four and a half stars for me. I cried, I laughed, I felt every emotion because it all felt very real to me. The cover is beautiful and sums up the story perfectly. I will definitely be picking up more by Dustin Thao in the future.
Thank you to NetGalley for a copy of this in exchange for a review!